Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court to proceed with alleged extortion case

Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court to proceed with alleged extortion case

Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court to proceed with alleged extortion case

The Kampong Chhnang provincial court said it will continue to press for justice against a Military Police commander and his alleged accomplice who stand accused of “confinement” and “extortion”, even after the victim withdrew his complaint.

Plaintiff Chhun Chiv Cheat said he had lodged a complaint against Military Police officer Lim Hak and his suspected accomplice Lon Lorn in September, but withdrew it after military officials returned the $5,000 believed to have been extorted from him.

‘Car tax’

Cheat told court prosecutors that he was driving to a petrol pump in September when two Military Police officials stopped him and took him to Kampong Chhnang Town Hall where Hak accused Cheat of not having paid his “car tax”.

Cheat told The Post on Wednesday that he had made a video recording of the incident.

He alleged that Hak confined him in the town hall and told him that if he wanted to be freed and have his car returned, he would have to pay $5,000 – prompting Cheat to inform his accused abductors that his wife could only put together $3,500 at the time.

Kampong Chhnang military commander Sak Sarang and Military Police spokesman Eng Hy both told The Post that the people who extorted Cheat were not members of the provincial Military Police force.

NGO Adhoc provincial coordinator Sam Chankea said it would have been wrong for the accused to evade legal action through out-of-court negotiations.

“You cannot commit a crime, say sorry and then return the evidence [the extorted money] to the plaintiff. That was just a scheme to reduce the punishment,” he said.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in October released a statement detailing several instances of extortion crimes including Cheat’s.

Acknowledging that the crimes occurred, the statement said that the ACU needed “more time to evaluate how the extortion was committed to further investigate the case”.

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